Energy & Environment

Global electric emissions outpace pre-pandemic levels: research


Greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector are now exceeding their pre-pandemic levels, according to new research.

An analysis by the London-based climate think tank Ember found that during the first half of this year, emissions were 5 percent higher than they were in the first six months of 2019.

Ember’s report said no country “has yet achieved a truly ‘green recovery’ for their power sector,” though it did note that the U.S., European Union, Japan and South Korea have achieved some reductions.

Globally, the think tank reported an increase in the use of coal, which is a particularly carbon-intensive fuel.

While emissions can come from a variety of sources such as power generation, agriculture and transportation, the report’s findings reflect challenges the world faces in reducing emissions, particularly from a sector that became the greatest greenhouse gas contributor worldwide in 2010.

The findings also come as countries prepare for another round of climate negotiations at a United Nations conference this fall.

President Biden has called for the U.S. to achieve an emissions-free power sector by the year 2035. In the Senate, Democrats are pushing for plans for a clean electricity payment program that seeks to reduce emissions from the sector by 80 percent over the next decade.

The new research from Ember found that in the U.S., clean energy generation rose by 3 percent while fossil generation declined slightly and that demand for electricity was at a similar level as it was before the pandemic.

Tags electric sector Greenhouse gas emissions Joe Biden power generation Transportation
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